For thousands of years, honey has been used all over the world and in just about every culture. Ancient Egyptians used it as a form of currency, like gold, and they mixed it into the wines that they offered to their gods.
Most people have used honey to sweeten foods and beverages, but few realize that it’s a powerful food, beauty aide and a topical antibiotic. Honey naturally contains 18 amino acids, plus small amounts of a many vitamins and minerals. The benefits of honey far exceed satisfying one’s sweet tooth.
The Benefits of Honey:
Better athletic performance: Many athletes rely on carbohydrates for an energy boost during intense training. Studies have shown that the glucose found in honey, plus other natural sugars, can provide the same boost to athletes.
Improved sleep and relaxation: Honey can promote relaxation and help ease you to sleep at night. The natural sugar found in honey raises our insulin slightly and allows tryptophan, the compound famous for making us sleepy after eating turkey at Thanksgiving, to enter our brains more easily. Taking a spoonful of honey before bed can help you get restful sleep.
Fewer allergies: Taking a high-quality raw local honey for two months before allergy season can actually lessen your allergies. Bees carry the pollen that aggravates seasonal allergies, and some of that pollen becomes part of the honey. Consuming honey daily before allergy season can help your body grow accustomed to the pollen and immunize your body against it.
Healed cuts and scrapes: Honey has antibacterial properties that prevent infection in minor abrasions. Plus, its thickness will protect against bacteria and dirt entering a wound. Simply dab a little honey onto your cut and cover with a bandage.
Moisturizing skin: Honey not only attracts water but it helps absorb and retain it on hair and skin. Because of this, honey is added to countless shampoos, soaps and cosmetics.
As far as home face masks go, it’s doesn’t get much better then one that includes raw honey. Raw honey was prized for its healing properties in ancient civilizations, and it makes an incredible mask for your skin all by itself. Use a raw honey mask several times a week, and one will notice a definite improvement in tone and softness of the skin.
1. Honey Face Mask for Acne-Prone Skin
- 3 teaspoons raw honey
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
Mix honey and cinnamon together, and apply to your face. Leave the mask on for 10-30 minutes. The antibacterial properties of both honey and cinnamon are especially beneficial for acne-prone skin. (Cinnamon can occasionally be irritating if your skin is really sensitive, so you might want to do a patch test on the back of your hand first.)
2. Honey Face Mask for Dry Skin
- 1 teaspoon mashed avocado
- 1 teaspoon plain whole milk yogurt
- 1 teaspoon raw honey
Mix ingredients in a small bowl until smooth. Spread the mixture over your face and let it sit for 20-30 minutes before washing it off. The fats in the avocado and whole milk yogurt are deeply moisturizing to the skin, while the lactic acid in the yogurt smooths your skin, refines pores, and stimulates collagen production.
3. Honey Face Mask for Sensitive Skin
- 2 teaspoons raw honey
- 1 teaspoon aloe vera gel
Stir the aloe and honey together and apply over your face. Leave it on for about 10-20 minutes. Aloe soothes inflammation and calms your skin, perfect for those with sensitive, irritated skin.
4. Honey Face Mask for Scars and Dark Spots
- 2 teaspoons raw honey
- 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
Combine the lemon juice and honey, and apply the mixture to your face. Allow it to sit for 20-30 minutes. Lemon juice exfoliates your skin, brightens dark spots and fades scars. Your skin will feel smooth and soft right away, but it may take a few applications to notice a real difference in scars and spots.